Definition of Minority
(noun) A definable category of people who share an identity or status and are subject to prejudice, discrimination, and oppression.
Example of Minority
- African-Americans in the United States
- American English – /muh-nOR-uh-tee/
- British English – /mie-nOr-i-tee/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /maɪˈnɔrədi/
- British English – /mʌɪˈnɒrᵻti/
- Plural: minorities
- Minorities can feel a heightened sense of solidarity based on oppression.
- Sociologists do not always use term in the numerical sense, but referring to a subordinate position of minorities in the social hierarchy.
- Some sociologists prefer the term “minority” over “minority group” because of the different lived experiences and lack of interaction between potential members.
- Some minorities are model minorities.
- “Defenders of affirmative action see it, first, as a sensible response to our nation’s racial and ethnic history, especially for African Americans, who suffered through two centuries of slavery and a century of segregation under Jim Crow laws. Throughout our history, they claim, being white gave people a big advantage. They see minority preference today as a step toward fair compensation for unfair majority preference in the past” (Macionis 2012:341).
- “In addition to prejudices, the dominant group also applies various actions against minority ethnic groups, including avoidance, denial, threat, or physical attack. At different times, all of these forms of coercion may be used, depending on how threatening the minority group is perceived to be. These actions are collectively called discrimination” (Marger 1985:45).
- “The long history of deliberate discrimination against racial and ethnic groups in America belies the American ideology of individual freedom and equality of opportunity. From the near genocide of Native Americans to the banishment of survivors to reservations, to the importation and enslavement of Africans, to the subsequent Jim Crow legislation that legalized racial segregation and unequal opportunity in the South, to exclusionary acts and discriminatory immigration quotas, to land displacement of Mexican Americans, to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, to current forms of residential, occupational, and educational discrimination against various minorities, the American experience has for many been more of an American Nightmare than an American Dream” (McNamee and Miller 2013:180).
- “The rationale for affirmative action policies in the USA includes the presumptive positive effects of diversity on intergroup relations as well as the issue of equity of opportunity for minority group members. Highly diverse settings, by virtue of including people with a wide variety of characteristics, can also result in a more equitable representation of opinions and sharing of resources” (Stevens 2011:154).
- Word origin of “minority” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Skrentny, John David. 2002. The Minority Rights Revolution. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
- dominant group
- institutional discrimination
- scapegoat theory
- social construction of race
- subordinate group
Giddens, Anthony, and Philip W. Sutton. 2014. Essential Concepts in Sociology. Cambridge: Polity.
Macionis, John. 2012. Sociology. 14th ed. Boston: Pearson.
Marger, Martin. 1985. Race and Ethnic Relations: American and Global Perspectives. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
McNamee, Stephen J., and Robert K. Miller, Jr. 2013. The Meritocracy Myth. 3rd ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
Ravelli, Bruce, and Michelle Webber. 2016. Exploring Sociology: A Canadian Perspective. 3rd ed. Toronto: Pearson.
Stevens, Gillian. 2011. “diversity.” Pp. 154 in The Concise Encyclopedia of Sociology, edited by G. Ritzer and J. Ryan. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Abercrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill, and Bryan Turner. 2006. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. 5th ed. London: Penguin.
Andersen, Margaret L., and Howard Francis Taylor. 2011. Sociology: The Essentials. 6th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Brinkerhoff, David, Lynn White, Suzanne Ortega, and Rose Weitz. 2011. Essentials of Sociology. 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Brym, Robert J., and John Lie. 2007. Sociology: Your Compass for a New World. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Griffiths, Heather, Nathan Keirns, Eric Strayer, Susan Cody-Rydzewski, Gail Scaramuzzo, Tommy Sadler, Sally Vyain, Jeff Bry, Faye Jones. 2016. Introduction to Sociology 2e. Houston, TX: OpenStax.
Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).
Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (http://en.wiktionary.org).
Cite the Definition of Minority
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “minority.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved April 1, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/minority/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
minority. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/minority/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “minority.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed April 1, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/minority/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“minority.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 1 Apr. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/minority/>.